Proposed Lease Would Lower City's Payments in Calabasas

Civic officials are hoping to sign a deal with their landlord at City Hall that would save Calabasas about $86,500 in rent over the next 18 months of the current lease.

In exchange, the city, whose current lease expires on March 1, 1997, would sign a 10-year lease that would go into effect this month. At that point, the rent would decrease from the current $2.12 per square foot to $1.60.

"We think it's a good deal," said Councilman Marvin Lopata, who was involved in negotiations with the landlord, Ahmanson Commercial Development Co.

The city leases a 9,243-square-foot space in an 18,371-square-foot building at 26135 Mureau Road. The City Council will vote on the new proposed lease at 7:30 p.m. Thursday at City Hall.

Under the new lease, the rent would remain at $1.60 for three years, then increase to $1.65. Three years later it would increase to $1.75.

City Manager Chuck Cate said the city is in a good position to bargain because the commercial real estate market is slow and the current rent is above market rate. It makes better sense, he said, to act now, rather than wait until the current lease expires.

When the current lease expires, he said, "the market could be stronger and we would not be able to get the same deal."

The city had attempted to purchase the building from the owner, city officials said, but the owner refused to sell, saying it would sell it only as a part of a bulk sale that would have included three other buildings on the site.

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